News

Coming through! Herd of baby elephants grazes through China

A herd of 15 baby Asian elephants have achieved worldwide fame after trekking through China for an entire 15 months. And they’re still going!

At the time of writing, these adorable not-so-little creatures have landed 500km away from their natural habitat –  believed to be the Mangynagzi Nature Reserve in Xishuangbanna, located in the South-West Yunnan province.

For perspective, this province is close to the northern borders of Burma and Laos.

baby elephants
Image: Sydney Morning Herald

Chinese authorities have been closely monitoring the migration of these fascinating elephants as they roam through fields, villages and even cities around China.

14 drones have been deployed by local governments to assist with the supervision, while an additional 500 government staff have been sent out to also watch over the herd.

This team has been successful in keeping the herd safe, including from potential road dangers.

However, that hasn’t stopped the little ones from causing damage of their own!

Millions of dollars worth of crops have been chewed through by the calves, with several buildings also damaged as the elephants poke their trunks through doors and windows. Ah, bless!

In particular, the popular city of Kunming was visited not too long ago, where the elephants turned into a parade for millions of local residents.

china elphants
Image: Voa News

No one really knows why they’re doing all this, though. Some scientists believe the babies are just searching for a new habitat. Others believe they’ve been led astray by an inexperienced leader.

Chen Mingyong, an Asian elephant expert, says it’s possible their leader: “lacks experience and led the whole group astray”.

He later confirmed that the incident is the longest-distance migration of wild elephants ever recorded in the country.

Authorities are currently working on steering the herd back southwest, which at the moment is proving more successful than earlier attempts.

At the time of writing, the herd was last spotted taking a nap in a forest near a village in the Xiyang township, following heavy rainfall, which ultimately slowed their journey.

Let’s hope these darlings get back on track first thing tomorrow morning!